Comment from: Greg Carter [Visitor]
Greg CarterInteresting stuff, particularly since I am joining Dell's storage team in the near future, have sold CX3, and was an IBM Storage Specialist.

I don't have any skin in the game - I left IBM in 2002 and am stilled ticked because I not only hit my numbers, but was given the Vice President's Award 5 months before I got the bad news. Having said that, I am struggling to understand why you don't think IBM has 'storage DNA.' Perhaps not in your case, but I have found that many people have this impression because IBM has leveraged partnerships with LSI (midrange) and NetApp (NAS) over the past 10 years. So I get why people would get the wrong impression.

As far as what an IBM bigot would argue, they contend that IBM 'invented storage' which, while not indisputably true, means that some very smart people see it that way. That indicates a few spindles of DNA, don't you think?

But their DS8000 line has done fairly well and has become rock solid, or so I am told by very senior and very fair-minded people I know who work for IBM and IBM business partners. Perhaps you are correct that their major success in when selling into IBM shops, and that IS a huge difference compared to the server-agnostic approach EMC and HDS have been able to use. So this fuels an incorrect impression that IBM thinks of storage as a sidebar, and that impression is certainly not completely incorrect.

From what I have seen myself, and from what my IBM friends tell me, the v7000 has the potential to be a giant. Endowing a midrange system with SVC capabilities will give this system very high end functionality and fault tolerance.

However, fortunately for Dell, EMC and other storage vendors, IBM has proven time and time again to be inept in selling their innovations, even when the technology is as good or better, even when their price/performance is off the charts better than DMX. EMC's 'never goes down' claim is rooted in their strategy of selling an overabundance of mediocre hardware with excellent software, and screwing the hell out of their customerse with software and software maintenance costs. If something costs $4M compared to $1.5M and has uptime that is marginally better than an IBM DS8000, which is the better value? The answer, as always, is 'it depends.' I believe that if IBM doesn't price the v7000 out of the market, and if they will 'incent' ALL sales people to sell it, they will make some strides. Note I haven't mentioned XIV and I won't - I hear customers praise the simplicity of the GUI, and that is cool, but until they work out some data protection issues (maybe they have already, I haven't kept track) they will never be considered to be enterprise class. Their claim to instanteous restoration is a canard - it doesn't rebuild the disks in minutes, it simply restores access to the data very quickly. Perhaps those are equivalent statements but, if so, why do these EMC-bred sales people misrepresent this? THAT, in my opinion, is EMC's true 'DNA.'

Finally, as far as IBM's storage DNA, how about the fact that IBM registers more storage-related patents annually than all other technology companies combined? That's alludes to as much or more 'storage DNA' than its competitors. I would respectfully reiterate my guess that these statements are based on IBM's lack of market penetration and presence which is certainly irrelevant to DNA. Of course, I could be wrong, and often am. I can tell you are a senior expert who I could learn a great deal from, so I hope you won't take this the wrong way.

Now, as far as relying on business partners - that is undeniable in the SMB space, and debatable in the Enterprise space. They do this with their SMB not because they lack significant storage technical and sales staffing. They do this because this is their storage sales model. They also have storage reps who support the business partner AND sell directly to customers and, additionally, work as a technical overlay to the sales teams (client reps, other server specialists).

The very outstanding senior storage rep they have in Phoenix covers all major accounts (AMEX, Schwab, Honeywell, etc.), and they have another specialist who covers SMB and business partners. They also have an FTSS/SE who is very senior, having joined IBM in 2000 after being manager of the Data Center at Charles Schwab.

I'm not going to spend hours massaging my entry so forgive me if any of this is disjointed or doesn't make sense.

Bottom line, I very much appreciate your article - very interesting and informative. I am thrilled to hear of your perception of Compellent technologies because, though I'd heard good things, I'm not yet very informed as to their products other than that they've had advanced virtualization capabilities for some time.

I'm glad I was referred to your post by a Storage Group in LinkedIn that was discussing Dell's Compellent acquisition. Keep writing - I would love to hear more from you.
01/14/11 @ 14:18
Comment from: Tony Asaro [Member] Email
Hi Greg - thanks for the comment. I didn't say that IBM didn't have storage DNA - I said they had "little" storage DNA within their sales organization. And this is relative to EMC and NetApp. Both EMC and NetAp have thousands of people in their sales organizations that wake up every day thinking about how they can sell more storage.

Also - understand the context that I was saying it in - in spite of the fact that HP and IBM don't have thousands of people dedicated to selling storage they still do massive amounts of business because of the attached rate of servers. Since Dell also is a server vendor they can leverage this to sell more Compellent storage. What would happen if Dell actually built its storage sales force to match EMC and NetApp? With Compellent and EqualLogic in their portfolio I think they would be a force to be reckoned with.
01/17/11 @ 11:02

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